Do you read Smitten Kitchen? If you don’t, and you love food, you should! Deb Perelman takes a voracious appetite, a cramped NYC kitchen, and a disdain for fussiness and mixes them all into a seriously addictive food blog. I’ve tried a couple of her recipes and they are very easy to follow and come out just as she describes: delicious.
Part of Deb’s success is that she is so accessible: as a cook, a writer, and a personality. That’s why I was so delighted to discover this piece on how she organizes her kitchen: How I Organize My Food Cabinets: Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s strategies are just like her blog: simple, visually appealing, and accessible to the average person. Her food storage doesn’t look perfectly curated a la Pinterest, but everything is visible and the system works for her.
My food storage looks an awful lot like Deb’s, in fact. Food storage takes up three upper cabinets over our stovetop, which is tight but manageable. I store everything by category (all baking items together, olive oils and vinegars together, dried beans and rice together) and accessibility (tea, coffee, and sugar/sweetener needs to be readily available, as does salt and pepper, but the stockpile of chicken broth can live higher up).
I also use clear containers, but so far I have gotten away with not labeling them. I like these OXO plastic sealing containers instead of glass canisters because they’re a little bit less cumbersome and stack well together (pro tip: rectangular containers always use less space than circular ones). I know it's tempting, but don't buy one of the pre-selected sets with different sizes because inevitably you won't have all the right sizes for the right foods. Instead, figure out which items you need to store in which quantities and then order the correct size containers individually.
Don’t forget that your food storage area or pantry (my kingdom for a pantry… sigh!) should be organized on a regular basis just like your closet. Things expire, turn weird colors, or just plain never get used, and getting rid of those will make more room for things you actually need for cooking and baking!